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Love for mankind
By A Naseeb Khan
|O Mankind! Your God is one and you have one father. You are all progeny of Adam, and Adam was made of clay. So, the noblest among you, in the sight of God, is the one who is the best in conduct. No Arab has any preference over a non-Arab, save his piety. (Hadith)
God honoured us by making us His vicegerent. He created us in the best of moulds, endowed us with pure nature, insight into good and evil, capacity of love and affection, patience and perseverance, contentment and thankfulness; sent to us the prophets who taught specific articles of faith, fundamentals of Islam and general moral teachings spanning-visiting the ailing persons, offering condolences and consolation, covering other’s weakness, forgiveness, kindness, establishing peace, respect to elders, avoiding quarrels, kindness to children, courtesy, caring neighbours, maintaining ties of kinship, good marital relationship, kindness to parents, giving loan to the needy, planting trees, removing harmful things from the path, telling the truth in the trade, controlling tongue and a host of other scrupulous subject matters.
But we have forgotten our duties and the elevated status. By abandoning the right path we chose to tread on the crooked one that leads us to severe pain, excruciating suffering, selfishness, degeneration, envy, hatred, untruth and meaningless life. The glory of life seems to be fading away, the values crumbling to pieces and we, lacking the essential moral virtues, are busy tearing apart the well woven fabric of the society, giving crippling blows to the sublime moral and reducing the order to chaos. Our condition is the same as portrayed by W B Yeats, a celebrated English poet, in the ‘Second Coming’:
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Like the ‘Age of Ignorance’, the situation is quite disorderly, worsening to the core. Cultural degradation and crisis, ruthless bestiality, wickedness and immorality are on the increase. Not to speak of showering love and affection on the fellow-features, we derive pleasure by striking terror and thrusting them in the clutch of fear-psychosis, by compelling them to live in ‘their cocoon’, like silk worms. Akhtarul-Imam, an Urdu poet, rightly says:
There is no Nadir Shah but the massacre is on
In every street roam thugs with torches and
People trade in lethal weapons.
We wrap ourselves in the courtesy just to deceive people’s opinion, but inwardly we remain the same-the product of civilization where words do not match the deeds. We, thus, seem to believe in what Lady Macbeth says:
To beguile the time
Look like the time…
Look like the innocent flowers,
But be the serpent in it. (Macbeth)
It is also pertinent to quote some lines from ‘Ancient Relics’, a poem by Akhtarul-Imam who asks a bitter question:
A few weapons that might have been launched
Against dangerous beasts.
Is this all my total heritage?
We must scrutinise as to why we are in deep slumber, and oblivious of our rich heritage; as to why we have such mutilated and dwarfed ethics; as to why maladjustment and imbalance prevail; as to why there is a topsyturvydom in moral world and as to why we are benighted and surrounded by brooding blackness. The root of evil, disorder and imbalances lies in our detachment from infinite God and His messages; in our denial to carry out His commands and render our services assigned to us by Him. Our cessation of learning from our scriptures has also contributed much to the rise of outward chaos and inward indiscipline.
For the social regeneration and new order we have to return to our holy scriptures and to our heritage. One may pertinently quote Dr S Radhakrishnan who, in Our Heritage writes:
‘The world should get together with a heightened sense of dignity of man and the brotherhood of peoples. Today, all the peoples of the world form a close neighbourhood, thanks to the invention of science and devices of technology. Transport and communication have resulted in the meeting of cultures and religions. The only attitude that we can adopt in the present context is an attitude not of exclusiveness but of comprehension, not of influence but of understanding, not of hatred and fanaticism but of appreciation and assimilation of whatever is valuable. Mankind has stemmed from one root, though it is split up into different cultures.’
The Qur’an for that matter also prescribes good remedial measures. It repeatedly asserts the love and service to fellow men:
And do good to parents, kinsfolk, those in need, neighbours who are of kin, neighbours who are strangers and the companions by your sides… (Qur’an: IV-36)
Subservience to God and good deeds to the fellow men is the very essence of Islam. It emphasizes practical service rather than lip service and mere sentiments. Islam establishes a society based on justice, equality of brotherhood and infuses us with sublime belief in living and working together for high morals. Similar is the teachings of Rig Veda (10, 192):
Meet together, talk together:
May your minds comprehend alike;
Common be your action and achievement;
Common be your thought and intention;
Common be the wishes of your hearts;
So may there be union amongst you!
Muhammad, (pbuh), who stood out for his mercy, kindness, love, wisdom and courage, rose with firm conviction; created harmony and bound people together, redeemed the humanity - though it was not easy for him to create a bond of kinship and unity, create harmony among people, amidst such a chaotic situation when people were immersed in sinfulness and moral degradation. The prophet (pbuh) by virtue of his all-embracing revolution altered our outlook, refined our spirit and instilled a sense of courage and sacrifice, love for mankind, value of hard work, patience, social etiquette and other desirable qualities. He inculcated in us a sense of brotherhood of man. Islam teaches us to be righteous and peace loving, to be fair enough with everyone, to prove ourselves to be God’s agent, by standing firm for justice, creating a golden mean and harmony among people. We should never be swayed away by any petty gain and other mundane consideration in depressing justice and virtues. The Qur’an says:
O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice as a witness of Allah, even though it is against yourselves, or your parents or (your) kindred. And whether it be (against) rich or poor.
As all men are the offspring of Adam and Eve, the entire human race is worthy of reverence and respect. The Qur’an says:
We have honoured the children of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance, things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours. (XVII - 70)
We should show our gratitude to God for His bounties and render our duties well. The Qur’an enjoins on us the duty of speaking to all men in terms of politeness. The Qur’an says:
And speak kindly to mankind. (II : 83)
So, Allah enjoins justice and kindness to (one and all)
And do good (to everyone). So, Allah loves those that are beneficent. (II : 195)
Islam also teaches us self-restraint and control on our animalism. It strictly prevents us from turning vindictive and wreacking vengeance on others; enjoins us to be kind, considerate and respectful even to those who are hostile to us. The Qur’an says:
Nor can good and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better. Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate. (XLI : 34)
Good and evil can never come to equal terms. So, we are ordained to remain virtuous, depress evil by good and foil hatred with love. The Qur’an says:
Reply an evil with that which is better. God advises the prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) to be kind and forgiving even to his enemies who played deception on him. The Qur’an says:
But forgive them and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loves those who are kind. (V-13)
The Prophet of Islam said:
All created beings are the family of Allah, so the most loved one of Allah is he who shows kindness and conducts himself well with His family. (Hadith)
God created us with a serious purpose, not for an idle show and mere sport. Since, we in our private capacity are simply slave to Allah, we have to stick unswervingly to His commands for seeking His grace and for being in the light of His grace, rather the darkness of His wrath.
Let’s learn these lessons to make the world inhabitable, restore peace and order , strangle the evil in its embryonic stage, uproot bestiality, eradicate ignorance, destroy the seeds of disintegration, create an atmosphere of freedom from fear for our advancement as human beings. Dr S Radhakrishnan writes in ‘Our Heritage’:
It is the concept of redeeming the world by men whose hearts are emancipated by love. Universal redemption, Sarvamukti, has been the consistent theme of Hindu and Buddhist religious classics. Both Hindu and Buddhist thoughts agree in asking us to overcome anger by love, evil by good, greed by liberty, falsehood by truth. A religion of this type is rational, ethical and spiritual, and its essence is to be found in all human beings. Every religion has to live up to this high quality of spiritual adventure. We have to remember what great teachers of the world have affirmed that all men are brother, and that their differences are not to be obliterated but are to be fostered and sustained by mutual understanding. We must learn from other peoples’ beliefs and experiences. The differences require to be reconciled in a larger understanding of human depth and its varied expression. We must learn to be loyal to the whole human race.
Let’s conclude with these lines of a poem:
O man, forgive thy mortal foe,
Nor even strike him blow for blow,
For all the souls on earth that live
To be forgiven must forgive,
For all the blessed souls in Heaven
Are both forgiven and forgivers. q
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